Who Do You Think You Are? Series 17

Who Do You Think You Are? Series 17

The family history series returns...

Nick Thorne, Writer at TheGenealogist

Nick Thorne

Writer at TheGenealogist

The names of the celebrities who will appear in this year’s U.K. series of Who Do You Think You Are? have been announced!

Returning to our television screens, the series will have shocking revelations, laughter, tears and emotions like never before as the celebrities explore their remarkable histories. The following four celebrities have been announced: Jodie Whittaker, David Walliams, Liz Carr and Ruth Jones.

Jodie Whittaker

Doctor Who and Broadchurchstar Jodie Whittaker learns the poignant reality behind a family myth surrounding her great uncle’s sacrifice in WWI while unearthing some uncomfortable truths about her great-great grandfather in Yorkshire.

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oct20 jodie whittaker

Jodie says: “Who Do You Think You Are?took me on an incredible journey through some of my family history. I discovered people and events that I had no idea existed before this. I was lucky to go home and see my Mum and Dad, lucky to see places I’d never been to before, and lucky to meet and shake hands with (!) some wonderful and intelligent people whose insight into history blew my mind. And only in February did I embark on this journey, and knowing where we are now, it feels even more special to have had this adventure.”

oct20 david walliams

David Walliams

David is an actor, comedian, talent-show judge and best-selling children’s author. Many of David’s children’s books have family relationships as a theme. From his hometown in Surrey to the First World War Battlefields in Belgium, actor, comedian and television personality David Walliams delights in discovering a great-great grandfather who, after becoming blind, forged a career as a travelling entertainer. Walliams also uncovers a more tragic story surrounding his paternal great grandfather’s experiences following WWI.

David Walliams says: “I’m delighted to have taken part in the series. I started off the journey knowing very little about my ancestry. In making the programme I found out lots of family history I would never have learned of. I was pleased to discover that being an entertainer runs in the family.”

oct20 liz carr

Liz Carr

More Great War history is uncovered by Silent Witnessactor and activist Liz Carr, who learns of her paternal grandfather’s experiences in the Royal Navy’s Northern Patrol. Carr also travels to Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland, and gets forensic, exposing an ancestor’s role in an attempted murder.

Liz Carr says: “I’ve watched Who Do You Think You Are? over the years so to be selected to have the show research my family history has been a wonderfully surreal experience. An armchair genealogist, my mum has dragged us around graveyards in search of our ancestors but to no avail so I’m hoping this will now all stop (probably not – knowing my mum!) I have loved every moment of discovery, of following in the footsteps of my ancestors and learning how the past really has informed my present. All of the experts were generous and fascinating as they guided me back in time to introduce me to my family. Before doing Who Do You Think You Are?all I really knew about my ancestors was that they had died but now I know that they lived and how they lived. I like knowing that, I like knowing who they were and I feel very proud to be related to them.”

oct20 ruth jones

Ruth Jones

Gavin and Staceystar and co-creator Ruth Jones learns that her paternal grandfather was a key player in the Medical Aid Societies of South Wales, which provided a model for the National Health Service. She also discovers a lineage of world-travelling mariners on her mother’s side.

Ruth Jones says: “Filming Who Do You Think You Are? was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I feel so privileged to have been taken on this spectacular journey into my heritage and to have discovered so much about my ancestors. I’ve probably been guilty of assuming people from by-gone generations were stuffy, two dimensional and a bit dull. But my trip on Who Do You Think You Are?has proved the opposite to be true. I feel like I’ve got to know the real people behind the fading sepia photographs and it’s made me want to find out more.”

The episodes are due to air in October and November (subject to change). As soon as we have the final schedule we will be publishing it here and in our newsletter, so watch this space!

Click here to view stories from the previous series

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